A Look at Executive Orders and President Obama
Updated: Monday, February 17 2014, 06:14 PM EST
President Obama's message to Congress was clear.
"But while Congress decides what it's going to do, I said at the State of the Union -- and I want to repeat here today -- I will act on my own," he said during remarks at a Maryland school earlier this month.
The remarks mean executive orders. Since taking office the president has used executive orders 168 times. During President Bush's two terms he used the orders 291 times. President Clinton used executive orders 364 times. President Franklin Roosevelt issued more than 3,500 executive orders, Woodrow Wilson issued 1,803 and Calvin Coolidge issued 1,203.
Some Republic lawmakers argue that President Obama's methods are an abuse of power.
"One of the most troubling aspects of the Obama administration is the consistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to just go it alone," Senator Ted Cruz said.
Legally the president can issue executive orders but critics see inherent problems with them and some believe the president will overstep his authority. Others fear such orders further demonstrate an inability of the White House and Congress to work together.
Scholars note that any executive orders the President enacts can be later reversed by Congress.
F. Michael Higginbotham is a law professor who says he understands concerns about presidential powers but says the safeguards put in place by the framers of the constitution still do work.
"The executive authority that the president has, you know to issue executive orders, is basically part of enforcement," Higginbotham said. "But enforcing congressional laws, the president can't enforce his own laws."
The balance of power may be clearly defined in the Constitution but the President's threat for a rash of executive orders this year if Congress doesn't agree with him will set the stage for even more battles between Capitol Hill and the White House.